Then, Jesus clearly warned the (recently healed) man. “Don’t tell anyone about your cure! Go! Show your skin to the priest. Then give to the Temple, just as Moses commanded. That should show them!”
After that, Jesus kicked the man out.
Mark 1: 43-44
This smells fishy at the first read. Sounds like it’s time for some sack cloths that say:
paranoia will destroy ya.
Special attention could be given to the instruction from Jesus to not “tell” in this weekend’s Gospel story about a leper being healed.
“Telling” vs. “Not Telling” is the main topic of conversation between my ten year old son and I right now. After moving to a larger town and school, our Joe has been exposed to larger and more diverse groups of children. In his mind, he has gone from cozy to mega, but really it is exactly what his dad and I would wish for in a small school and manageable class size.
Initially, our hard work paid off each day by pumping him with the promise that investing himself in a larger and more assorted mix of friends would bring him to a whole new level of happy.
And pay off it did! Though there was more than one tearful bedtime that included “I hate this place…I miss my old friends…no one likes me here,” for the most part his boundless extroversion paid off and his initial goal to have one best friend has expanded to trying to figure out how to manage his large group of best friends.
The flip side? He is in overdrive with trying to figure out what a clique is vs. a group, what exactly defines bullying, and what to do with the fact that girls are not disgusting during every minute of the day.
Which brings us back to the Gospel snippet which began this post.
Here is the whole story:
40 A leper approached Jesus, fell to his knees, and pleaded, “Jesus, if you want to, you can make me whole again.”
41 Jesus had such deep feelings for the leper, he reached out and touched the man. “I want you to get better. Be whole again.” 42 At that moment, the disease left the man. 43-44 Then, Jesus clearly warned the man. “Don’t tell anyone about your cure! Go! Show your skin to the priest. Then give to the Temple, just as Moses commanded. That should show them!” After that, Jesus kicked the man out.
45 But, after the man left, he talked about Jesus all the time. Because of his comments, Jesus could not enter any town in the open. Instead, he stayed in places where he could be alone. But people from everywhere kept coming to see him.
This morning while reading and listening to this story, I couldn’t help but remember a talk I had with Joe the other day on the way to basketball practice. It went something like this:
Mom: Joe, I was wondering if you know what paranoid means?
Joe: (huge sigh) Yesssss mom, it means to get on someone’s nerves.
Mom: Oh, I think you might be thinking of annoyed. No, I meant paranoid which is when someone worries way, way too much about bad things that people could be thinking or saying about us. Sometimes it’s true that some of that nasty stuff is going on, but almost always it’s not as bad as we think.
This got him talking a little bit about his concern that I was spreading rumors among the fourth grade moms about some of his less favorable transgressions from before we moved.
Which…led to talk #346 which is
Mom: Here’s the deal Joe, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I don’t keep secrets because secrets are about shame and I am nothing but proud of you. I DO keep things private though, and no, I didn’t tell all the moms about XYZPDQ because it isn’t any of their bizwax.
Joe: K. Gotta go. Coach is right there.
So, when the leper who had been healed boogied off to town and bragged up Jesus, he wasn’t spreading a long-held secret, he was just excited. But, the consequence of his lack of discreetness was that Jesus had no privacy and doing his work became complicated and, as we now know, very dangerous.
Glad that I took a minute to soak this story up – I’m sure it won’t be long before I am forced into some awkward mom situation again, and I hope I can keep my word to my kid.